About The Contributors

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena is a public interest lawyer, was lead counsel pro deo in Fernando v. Sri Lanka (No 1189/2003 – Contempt of Court, United Nations Human Rights Committee, 31.03.2005) and has litigated in a number of precedent setting cases on freedom of expression in the domestic courts. Involved in political/legal commentary from her law undergraduate days, she has been the Editorial (Legal) Consultant for The Sunday Times, Colombo since 1998 and contributes a regular column on rights and the law for the newspaper. She is (Consultant) Deputy Director, Law and Society Trust, (LST), edits the LST Review and has authored several widely referenced books on Sri Lanka’s Rule of Law systems published locally and internationally. Engaged in drafting laws on contempt of court (National Human Rights Commission, 2004; Bar Association of Sri Lanka, 2006), she was part of the government appointed drafting committee which finalized the 2004 Bill on the Right to Information. She was a 2001 Salzburg (Austria) Fellow, a 2003 WISCOMP (New Delhi) Scholar of Peace Fellow and was nominated Sri Lanka’s Woman of Courage in 2007 by the United States Department of State. 

Gehan Gunatilleke is an attorney-at-law with particular interest in the field of constitutional law and human rights. He is the coordinator of the Masters of Human Rights and Democratisation (Asia Pacific) Programme jointly offered by the University of Sydney and the University of Colombo and a visiting lecturer at the University of Peradeniya. He is also a senior research analyst at Verité Research. His recent publications include: Reporting on Human Trafficking and Forced Labour: A Practical Guide for Journalists in Sri Lanka (ILO, forthcoming); Emergency Law in the Context of Terrorism: Sri Lanka (co-author with Niran Anketell, South Asians for Human Rights, 2011); The Normative Framework on Internal Displacement: A Literature Review (Center for the Study of Human Rights, 2010), and A Strategy for Community Mobilization (Sri Lanka Center for Development Facilitation, 2010).

Tilak Jayaratne was a veteran broadcaster and Sri Lanka’s community radio pioneer, spearheading the Uva Community Radio initiative which was supported by UNESCO. He founded the Educational Service of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and was instrumental in taking radio to the people through innovative programmes and content which marked a turning point in Sri Lanka’s broadcast media.  He was the first director of the College of Journalism, Sri Lanka. His tenure with the country’s state broadcaster, SLBC and consequent dismissal from the Non-Formal Education Programme (NFEP) of the SLBC resulted in the seminal Supreme Court judgment, Wimal Fernando v. Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation ( [1996] 1 Sri LR 157) which even today remains a standard setter in terms of independent governance of the airwaves. Ably representing a generation of honourable broadcasters serving Sri Lanka with integrity and commitment, he passed away on 7th September 2012. The Media Lanka Reform Initiative recalls his valuable contribution to the work despite his illness, with much gratitude.

Sarath Kellapotha is a senior broadcaster, researcher and writer, with more than thirty years’ experience of Sri Lanka’s broadcasting regime.  He worked for more than twenty years at the SLBC and alongside Tilak Jayaratne as a senior trainer at numerous community radio stations. After leaving the SLBC, he and Tilak Jayaratne engaged in a review of the regulatory aspects of Sri Lanka’s community radio at the request of the Word Bank in 2004.    

Dr Jayantha de Almeida Guneratne, President’s Counsel, PhD is a former member of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka in which capacity he contributed to several law reform initiatives and is a Visiting Lecturer and Examiner, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo and the Sri Lanka Law College as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Appellate Law Recorder. He has He was a Salzburg Fellow, 2002 and is a senior Consultant at the Law and Society Trust, Colombo. Sometime Acting Chairman (formerly) of Sri Lanka’s Debt Conciliation Board, member and Acting Chairman of the Agrarian Services Board of Review, he was a member of the 1995-1997 Presidential Commission on Involuntary Removals and Disappearances of Persons. In 2011, he co-authored ‘'Habeas Corpus in Sri Lanka; Theory and Practice of the Great Writ in Extraordinary Times' with Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena (Law & Society Trust, Colombo).

Nalaka Gunawardene has been associated with media, communication and development spheres for 25 years in a multitude of roles including reporter, feature writer, TV host, journalist trainer and communication consultant.He has written widely on social and cultural impacts of information and communications technologies (ICTs). From 2003 t0 2009, he was Sri Lanka contributing editor for Digital Review of Asia Pacific, www.digital-review.org. He was also researcher and co-writer of Sri Lanka Human Development Report on ICTs, published by UNDP in 2004.He now writes weekly columns on science, development and information society issues for two Sunday newspapers in Sri Lanka (Ravaya and Ceylon Today), and contributes op-ed essays to other print and online media outlets at regional and global levels. He also hosts a TV show on innovation on national TV, and blogs at: http://nalakagunawardene.com

Sinha Ratnatunga is Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Times and Executive Director at Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. Onetime President of The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL), he is a Director of the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) and Director of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL). He was among Sri Lanka’s key media persons who founded the TEGOSL and the SLPI. His indictment on criminal defamation charges by the Chandrika Kumaratunga government and subsequent conviction by the High Court was largely instrumental in spearheading a media campaign to abolish the law of criminal defamation which culminated in Parliament unanimously repealing the law from Sri Lanka’s statute books in 2002. His conviction was later set aside by the Supreme Court. A wider platform for media law reform was then conceived around the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility which was signed by TEGOSL in April 1998 together with the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka and the Free Media Movement and revised thereafter in October 2008. This document remains the roadmap for media freedom in Sri Lanka todate.
He serves on the Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). His book, ‘Politics of Terrorism: The Sri Lanka Experience’ published by the International Fellowship for Social and Economic Development, Canberra in 1988 remains essential reading for those wishing to understand the complex roots of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.

Ameen Izzadeen is Editor, International Desk, Wijeya Newspapers Ltd, Sri Lanka and Deputy Editor, The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka as well as Columnist Daily Mirror. He has been a print media journalist for the past 22 years after commencing his career in journalism in 1986 as a sub editor in the now defunct Sun/Weekend newspaper group, Colombo. His specialties are international affairs, effective editing and editorial administration. From 2005 to August 2008, he was the correspondent for the Dubai-based Khaleej Times, filing news stories from Sri Lanka and writing a weekly opinion column. He is a Harry Brittain fellow of the London-based Commonwealth Press Union and won the Japan Foreign Press Centre fellowship 1993. He is also visiting lecturer in journalism at the Colombo University and the Sri Lanka College of Journalism; visiting lecturer in international relations at the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute, Colombo and visiting lecturer in Middle Eastern politics at the Defence Services Staff College, Batalanda, Sri Lanka.

Amal Jayasinghe is the Bureau Chief, Agence France – Presse (AFP), Sri Lanka / Maldives. He joined the agency in August 1987 after working for over five years as a reporter for Sri Lanka's main English-language newspaper, the Daily News. He has been on special reporting assignments for AFP in war-torn areas of the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq. His reporting on Sri Lanka's drawn out Tamil separatist conflict earned him accusations of bias by both sides of the ethnic divide and a medal and title, Chevalier, Order National du Merite (Knight of the National Order of Higher Merit), from the Government of France in 2005.

Professor Sasanka Perera was trained as a cultural anthropologist at the University of California and was teaching at the Department of Sociology, University of Colombo upto 2011. He headed the Department of Sociology prior to his resignation. With varying interests in media, politics of culture, urban space and diaspora, he is at present the founding Professor and Chair at the Department of Sociology and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at South Asian University in New Delhi. In his spare time, he spends time on blogging and writing poetry.

Namini Wijedasa entered journalism in 1994 and has worked for several mainstream newspapers in Sri Lanka. She has also freelanced as a news reporter and presenter with Capital Radio, a private broadcaster. She first joined The Island newspaper, the English language daily run by the Upali Newspapers (pvt) Ltd, as a junior reporter in 1994. She left in 1998 to work for the Midweek Mirror, a publication of Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. She was part of the team that helped the Midweek Mirror transition from a weekly to a daily newspaper, The Daily Mirror. She was a correspondent for the Associated Press from 2000 to 2001. She joined The Sunday Island in 2001 and was promoted to Assistant Editor. In 2007, she joined Lakbimanews where she was Assistant Editor till 2012. She writes for The Economist and works for NHK Japan TV. She has received national and international awards for journalism, including the 2005 Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize. She served as a board member of the Sri Lanka Press Complaints Commission from 2007-2009.

William Crawley is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies University of London, and Co Director of the Media South Asia Project (www.mediasouthasia.org) After completing a D.Phil at Oxford University he was a journalist editor and manager in the BBC World Service for 23 years until 1994. Since leaving the BBC he has written articles and edited publications on the BBC and India, and on the media in south Asia. He and Dr David Page collaborated with partners in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal in researching and writing ‘Satellites over South Asia: Broadcasting Culture and the Public Interest’ (Sage, New Delhi, 2001). The Media South Asia Project also commissioned a documentary film ‘Michael Jackson comes to Manikganj’, directed by the Indian journalist and film maker Nupur Basu. Dr Crawley was Secretary of the Charles Wallace Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Burma Trusts from 2002-2007. He is on the Editorial Board of ‘Asian Affairs’, the journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs,

David Page is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, and Co-Director (with William Crawley) of the Media South Asia Project.  After taking his doctorate in South Asian History at Oxford University, he joined the BBC in 1972 and worked for more than twenty years as a journalist, editor and manager in the BBC Eastern Service. Since leaving the BBC, he has worked as a consultant and researcher on communication issues in South Asia.  He and Dr William Crawley collaborated with partners in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal in researching and writing ‘Satellites over South Asia: Broadcasting Culture and the Public Interest’ (Sage, New Delhi 2001) and in organising conferences and seminars on broadcasting policy in the region.  In 2012, he co-authored a BBC Media Action publication on The Media of Afghanistan: the challenges of transition.  He is the Series Editor of Cross Border Talks, a publishing venture which explores the issues which divide India and Pakistan, and Chair of Trustees of Afghanaid, a British charity working with rural communities in Northern Afghanistan.